This paper presents a method for detection and estimation of structural damage on the basis of modal parameters of a damaged structure using imperialist competitive algorithm. The imperialist competitive algorithm was developed over the last few years in an attempt to overcome inherent limitations of traditional optimize method. In this research, imperialist competitive algorithm has been employed due to its favorable performance in detection of structural damages. The performance of the proposed method has been verified through using a benchmark problem provided by the IASC-ASCE Task Group on Structural Health Monitoring and a number of numerical examples. By way of comparison between location and amount of damage obtained from the proposed method and simulation model, it was concluded that the method is sensitive to the location and amount of damage. The results clearly revealed the superiority of the presented method in comparison with energy index method.